Alberto Masnovo - Fotolia

Cloud service maturity up in the Nordics

Nordic businesses are increasing their use of the cloud, but more work is needed to make investments support business strategies

Nordic companies and the public sector are rapidly adopting cloud services, but their strategic use of cloud still has room for improvement.

Only 14% organisations in Finland, Norway and Sweden can be considered cloud mature, according to a new survey by research firm Radar.

The Cloud Maturity Index 2017, commissioned by Finnish IT service provider Tieto and virtualisation software company VMware, found that most organisations in these Nordic countries are on the basic (46%) or proficient (29%) level of cloud maturity.

A further 11% fall into the immature category, where little or no cloud services are used, typically due to lack of in-house expertise.

Although the proportion of cloud-mature Nordic organisations remain low at 14%, there has been a marked improvement. In 2015, the same survey classified just 10% as mature and almost 20% as immature.

The surveyed organisations also showed more willingness to blend deployment models (public, private, hybrid), to use various types of cloud services, and to use the cloud in more business-critical areas than two years ago.

Over the same period, the differences between industry sectors have become smaller, although the financial sector still boasts the highest average cloud maturity. The biggest improvement was shown by the manufacturing industry.

Freddie Rinderud, senior adviser at Radar, said he saw several drivers for cloud growth, notably the increased industrialisation of IT and the public cloud. “By this I mean the growth of the likes of Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure,” he said. “Technology today makes it possible to use a public cloud from big global cloud factories.

“Also, cloud services have now been around for a while and companies have started to appreciate and understand [the cloud] for what it is.”

Integration challenge

Looking at country differences, Norwegian organisations remain behind their Finnish and Swedish peers in cloud maturity but are catching up quickly. Since 2015, companies in Norway have had a growth spurt in strategic cloud maturity and operative maturity, while Finland and Sweden have seen smaller increases in average cloud maturity.

In total, the Cloud Maturity Index found that 80% of organisations in the three Nordic countries use cloud services to some degree. This is a higher percentage than in Eurostat’s latest cloud computing statistics, but shows a similar trend of speedy adoption in the Nordics. According to Eurostat, 57% of Finnish and 48% of Swedish enterprises used cloud computing in 2016, compared with an EU average of 21%.

But still obstacles remain. According to the index, many mature cloud users said integrating cloud services with their existing portfolio was the biggest barrier to deploying cloud services, while less mature organisations cited security and regulatory issues.

But this is not stopping the Nordic countries putting their money where the cloud is. The latest Computer Weekly/TechTarget study found that 52% of the Nordic IT decision-makers surveyed expected to invest more in cloud services in 2017. The most common cloud projects planned were the implementation of software-as-a-service models and the creation of hybrid clouds that combine public and on-premise infrastructure.

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